Critican que se prohiba el ‘Fracking’ sin considerar y debatir sus beneficios

3 Oct , 2013
Megan Quinn
Broomflied Enterprise  

El grupo Broomfield Energy Balanced Coalition (BBEC) del estado norteamericano de Colorado es una organización civil que quiere traer equilibrio a la discusión mediante el apoyo a la fractura hidráulica. Además critican que se dicten leyes prohibitivas sin antes debatir las nuevas regulaciones de seguridad de petróleo y gas.

Led by former state Rep. Don Beezley, a Republican, and former RTD board member Lee Kemp, who last year ran for state Senate as a Democrat, the group plans to speak out against a fracking ban while supporting other energy methods, such as wind and solar. The group also supports Broomfield’s new agreement with oil and gas drilling company Sovereign, which imposes strict environmental and regulatory standards in order for the company to continue drilling within city limits.

Similar to Broomfield’s other pro-fracking group, It’s Our Broomfield, Too, the BBEC said it opposes a fracking ban. Yet the group also wants to show that fracking is not a partisan issue. “This is an issue that crosses party lines so easily,” said Beezley, who served one term as state representative until he left his seat in 2012.

The group is opposing Broomfield Question 300, which if approved would create a fiveyear ban on all hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in Broomfield. Fracking is a process in which oil and gas companies inject a water-sand-chemical mix deep underground to free up deposits of gas trapped in subterranean rock.

Grassroots group Our Broomfield circulated petitions to get the ban on the Nov. 5 ballot. The group was formed because of concerns about the health and safety risks of fracking, which it has stated are not fully known, and on Tuesday hosted a panel discussion safety concerns at the Broomfield Auditorium.

BBEC argues that oil and gas companies provide valuable jobs and tax revenue, and that a ban on fracking would hurt the local economy and hurt access to a valuable resource. “When discussing the need to ban fracking along the Front Range, the risks of this tried and true practice are often overstated, and the benefits are not even mentioned,” the group stated on its website.

The group also stated a ban would threaten property rights for those with mineral rights. Beezley said the group agrees with Broomfield City Council’s recent approval of a new set of regulations for oil and gas operators within Broomfield. The 30-plus regulations, many of which are more stringent than state standards, are meant to allow oil and gas operators to drill in Broomfield while addressing safety and environmental concerns, such as water and air quality.

The first company to agree to those regulations is Sovereign, a company that wants to drill near Broomfield’s North Park area. Beezley said Broomfield has provided a balanced and well thought-out solution to fracking concerns, and that the strict new guidelines balance safety issues while allowing an essential industry to continue operating.

“The city has added responsibility and has taken steps that are stringent,” he said. Beezley said there was never a basis for a fracking ban, but said the agreement between Sovereign and Broomfield makes it even more clear that a ban is not needed, because the new regulations are even more strict than before.

Co-chairs Kemp, a former RTD board member, and Beezley both live in Broomfield. Beezley’s son attends Prospect Ridge Academy, a charter school that has been at the center of Broomfield’s fracking controversy.

Anti-fracking group, Our Broomfield, formed after concerned residents learned Sovereign planned to drill near Prospect Ridge Academy. Our Broomfield is opposed to fracking because of its potential impact on air and water quality. The group stated a ban would give researchers more time to determine fracking’s effects on residents’ health and the environment.

Broomfield delayed talks with Sovereign several times because of resident concerns about how close proposed wells would be to the school. This summer, Our Broomfield gathered enough signatures to place the fracking ban question on the ballot.

In response, a pro-fracking group called It’s Our Broomfield, Too formed to speak out against a ban. It’s Our Broomfield, Too has stated there is no conclusive evidence that fracking is harmful to health, and that fracking has benefitted Broomfield’s economy and residents.

Beezley said the BBEC isn’t related to It’s Our Broomfield, Too, but the two groups have similar interests. The two groups are co-hosting a forum Tuesday to discuss their views on the benefits of the oil and gas drilling practice.

It’s Our Broomfield, Too member Rick Fernandez said the pro-fracking group was pleased with how Broomfield has handled the oil and gas drilling process and wants to see that thoughtfulness continue. “The way council has gone through these issues is very well thought through,” he said.

Though BBEC and It’s Our Broomfield, Too stated there is enough evidence to support fracking as a safe practice that benefits Broomfield and the state, members of Our Broomfield aren’t so sure. Group member Laura Fronckiewicz said Our Broomfield will continue to advocate for a fracking ban as the election moves closer. “We want people to get educated about fracking,” she said in an interview last month.

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